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Cuba Document Archive | U.S. Laws and Regulations

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Treasury and Commerce Announce Significant Amendments to the Cuba Sanctions Regulations ahead of President Obama's Historic Trip to Cuba

(U.S. Department of the Treasury, March 15, 2016)

This press release highlights key revisions to Treasury and Commerce regulations released before President Obama’s March 2016 trip to Cuba. The updated regulations are aimed at easing travel and commercial restrictions for Americans wishing to travel to the island or conduct business there. New authorizations include individual people-to-people educational travel; payment of salaries to Cuban nationals by U.S. companies; creation of U.S. bank accounts for Cuban nationals; importation of software to Cuba; authorization for U.S. financial institutions to process Cuban international transactions, and authorization for “physical presence” of business entities that engage in humanitarian projects or research and educational institutions. The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) will also permit the provision of educational grants and awards to enable more U.S. support for educational and philanthropic projects on the island.

Link to full text via the U.S. Department of the Treasury

Treasury and Commerce Announce Further Amendments to the Cuba Sanctions Regulations

(U.S. Department of the Treasury, January 26, 2016)

This press release announces new amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR). These amendments aim at enabling the free flow of information and goods between the United States and Cuba, including removing financing restrictions for most types of authorized exports, and authorizing on a case-by-case basis U.S. exports that "meet the needs of the Cuban people," including exports made to state-owned enterprises and agencies of the Cuban government. Other highlights include the licensing of commodities and software to increase the support for the Cuban people; the entry into blocked space, code-sharing, and leasing arrangements to facilitate air carrier services; and increasing the authorized categories for travel to the island, including temporary sojourns, professional meetings, public performances and exhibitions, and humanitarian projects.

Link to full text via the U.S. Department of the Treasury

Treasury and Commerce Announce Further Amendments to the Cuba Sanctions Regulations

(U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 18, 2015)

This press release describes revisions to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR) made in September 2015. The amendments are aimed at continuing the process of normalization by facilitating authorized travel and commerce, enhancing the free flow of information through enhanced telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba, refocusing sanctions so they do not deter day-to-day business transactions, allowing certain gift imports, and facilitating access to emergency medical services. U.S. businesses engaged transportation, telecommunications, or authorized exports are licensed to establish a physical presence in Cuba such as offices, warehouses, and retail outlets. The revisions also remove the limit on non-family remittances.

Link to full text via the U.S. Department of the Treasury

Cuba: Implementing Rescission of State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation

By the Industry and Security Bureau (Federal Register, July 22, 2015)

This rule amends the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to implement the rescission of Cuba's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Specifically, this rule removes anti-terrorism (AT) license requirements from Cuba and eliminates references to Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but maintains preexisting license requirements for all items subject to the EAR unless authorized by a license exception. This rule also removes Cuba from Country Group E:1 (terrorist supporting countries), which makes Cuba eligible for a general 25 percent de minimis level and portions of four license exceptions. The Secretary of State rescinded the designation of Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism on May 29, 2015.

Link to full text via the Federal Register

Export Administration Regulation Downloadable Files

By the Bureau of Industry and Security (U.S. Department of Commerce)

This page contains a list of downloadable files from the Export Administration Regulation, which outline embargoes and other special controls that the U.S. maintains on trade with Cuba. The files are updated regularly, and include categories such as telecommunications, marine, computers, and general prohibitions, among others.

Link to full text via the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security

The State Department's Section 515.582 List "Goods and Services Eligible for Importation"

By the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (U.S. Department of State, February 13, 2015)

This web page outlines amendments made to existing trade sanctions against Cuba. More specifically, Section 515.582 authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to import certain goods and services produced by "independent Cuban entrepreneurs."

Link to full text via the U.S. Department of State

Fact Sheet: U.S. Department of State Section 515.582 List

By the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (U.S. Department of State, February 13, 2015)

In accordance with the Cuba policy change announced in December, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) made amendments to their respective Cuba sanctions regulations. This fact sheets answers questions about the implementation of the amendments, which took effect on January 16, 2015.

Link to full text via the U.S. Department of State

Fact Sheet: Treasury and Commerce Announce Regulatory Amendments to the Cuba Sanctions

(U.S. Department of the Treasury, January 15, 2015)

This fact sheet from the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments summarizes regulatory amendments to the sanctions against Cuba. The amendments are aimed at easing restrictions in travel, insurance, importation of goods, telecommunications, and consumer communication devices. The amendments also include a variety of provisions which encourage small business growth on the island, including policies related to remittances, microfinance, gift parcels, and liberalizing application processes for export licensing. The amendments provide general licenses for all twelve categories of legal travel, allows for trade between U.S. businesses and Cuban private businesses, and allows for the sale of goods and services for environmental protection.

Link to full text via the U.S. Department of the Treasury

Cuban Assets Control Regulations –31 CFR Part 515

By the Office of Foreign Assets Control (U.S. Department of the Treasury Federal Register, January 2015)

This document explains the amendments that the the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is making to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, as part of the implementation of the policy changes in U.S.-Cuba relations announced in December 2014. The amendments include authorization of travel services, increases in remittances limits, and a loosening of restrictions for certain transactions by Cuban nationals. It also allows for U.S. financial institutions to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions.

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Cuba: Providing Support for the Cuban People –15 CFR Parts 736, 740, 746 and 748

By the Bureau of Industry and Security (U.S. Department of Commerce Federal Register, January 2015)

This document explains amendments to the Export Administration Regulations to create the License Exception Support for the Cuban People (SCP), which authorizes the export and re-export of certain items. This adjustment of regulations is intended to improve the living conditions of the Cuban people, support independent economic activity, strengthen civil society, and improve the free flow of information to, from, and among the Cuban people.

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Cuba Sanctions Announced by President Obama on December 17, 2014

By the Undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (U.S. Department of State)

This page summarizes changes to existing embargo relations made by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Commerce following the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba in December 2014. Both the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) were amended with the expressed goal of "[enabling] U.S. citizens to provide more resources and information to empower the Cuban people." Among other changes, travel agents and airlines may now provide travel services to Cuba without the need for a specific license, the provision and availability of communication devices and facilities may be expanded, and increased remittances may be sent to Cuban nationals.

Link to full text via the U.S. Department of State

Office of Foreign Assets Control Regulations Regarding Cuba

This website offers an online version of rules and regulations about who can and cannot travel to Cuba. It also details restrictions on what can and cannot be brought to and from Cuba, and how remittances are managed.

Link to ful text via the U.S. Department of State

U.S.-Cuban Relations: An Analytic Compendium of U.S. Policies, Laws & Regulations

Dianne E. Rennack and Mark P. Sullivan (The Atlantic Council, March 2005)

U.S. policy toward Cuba has largely been characterized by a “two-track” model of isolating Cuba through sanctions while providing support to the Cuban population and promoting democratic change through Cuban citizens. This document provides analysis of U.S. policy toward Cuba and incorporates numerous U.S. government documents that detail U.S. policies and positions toward the Island nation. Topics covered include policy statements of the George Bush Administration, comprehensive economic sanctions, diplomatic relations, migration, Guantanamo, the U.S. Government-sponsored radio and television broadcasting to Cuba, and concludes with an essay on possible paths to normalize relations with Cuba.

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Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000

This piece of legislation removes sanctions imposed on nations with which the United States is not at war. The act requires that any entity engaging in the trade of agricultural or medical goods with Cuba or any country providing extensive assistance to Cuba be required to hold one-year licenses issued by the U.S. government.

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Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996 (Helms-Burton Act)

The full text of the Helms-Burton Act can be downloaded below, four main goals include: a) strengthening international sanctions against Cuba, b) developing a plan for U.S. assistance to Cuba as it transitions to democracy, c) making the Cuban Government liable for land confiscations of U.S. citizens who previously held claims to the land, and d) to deny a visa to any alien who has trafficked aforementioned property or had any involvement in its confiscation.

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Cuban Democracy Act

The Cuban Democracy Act was passed in 1992. The document identifies reasons for implementing the subsequently listed restrictions for numerous reasons, many of which are tied to the denial of the government to honor the rights of its citizens to free speech, assembly, and press. The document delineates the core of the U.S. policy towards Cuba and indicates changes that are to take place should the Castro regime make progress towards democratization.

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Current or Recent Alien Adjustment Provisions

Cuban Adjustment
(Public Law 89-732, November 2, 1966, as Amended)

This 1966 law reduces the period that Cuban aliens are required to be continually present in the U.S. prior to applying for permanent residence from 2 years to one year if they arrived after 1959.

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Office of Foreign Assets Control Regulations Regarding Cuba

This website offers an online version of rules and regulations about who can and cannot travel to Cuba. It also details restrictions regarding what can and cannot be brought to and from Cuba and how remittances are managed.

OFAC Cuba regulations website